The Green Bay Packers were back in the playoffs as NFC North champions this season, and went to the conference title game, losing to the San Francisco 49ers.
They were led on the field, per usual, by Aaron Rodgers, who had another Pro Bowl-worthy season.
But would the Packers already be looking for the 36-year-old’s successor?
‘We’ll never pass that up’
Meeting with media on Friday, general manager Brian Gutekunst was asked about how he’ll approach the quarterback position this offseason.
“Obviously [Rodgers is] still playing at an elite level, but for me, I was raised by Ron Wolf and Ted Thompson. If there’s a quarterback we think can play, that’s a starter in the National Football League, we’ll never pass that up.
“But I’m really glad 12’s back there, really excited for what he can do in Year 2. I know [head coach] Matt [LaFleur] talks about Matt Ryan and what he did in Year 2, obviously Aaron has played at an elite level and see what he did in Year 1, I’m excited for Year 2.”
LaFleur was the Atlanta Falcons quarterbacks coach in 2015-16, where he worked with Ryan.
‘There were times he had to carry us’
Gutekunst was very complimentary of Rodgers’ play. He completed 62 percent of his passes for 4,002 yards and had 26 touchdowns against 4 interceptions.
“I thought Aaron had a really, really good year, especially adapting to a completely new system. There were times he had to carry us, and I thought he did that,” Gutekunst said. “I think this was one of the years we had a team that didn’t always have to rely on that quite as much.
“I think he’s still playing at an elite level and just watching him throughout his career, there were some challenges we face, not only him but some other guys on our team, where I said I was really proud how those guys faced those challenges. They really came together as a team, and that really takes your best players, your leaders, to do that. He obviously was a big, big part of that.”
Gutekunst did acknowledge that Green Bay looked at adding another offensive weapon before the trade deadline, but “the opportunities to do that, there were not many, and the ones that were were not particularly sound value, in my opinion.
“We looked at that, but I also was very optimistic that some of our young players would improve and get us where we needed to be. I think that’s the one area, when we were in the period before the trade period, that we were looking at.”
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